Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The secret life of a Six Degrees employee

We have many talented folks working for us here at Six Degrees and we'd love you to get to know them - so this marks the start of a semi-regular feature on the blog: The Secret Life of a Six Degrees employee.

When Ryan Romana interviewed with us for the position of "head of publicity" two years ago, he mentioned that he was a DJ who spun "grime" and "dubstep" music. This gave me an opportunity to finally ask someone who knew, what the hell the difference between the two genres was. After Ryan recovered from shock from the fact that I knew ANYTHING at all about the scene (which at the time was a lot more underground than it is now), he explained that "grime" featured vocals and "dubstep" was its instrumental off shoot.

Over the last two years, dubstep has pretty much taken the spotlight from grime and has matured into a really interesting genre with "breakout" artists like Burial, Skream and Benga attracting lots of media attention of late. Here's Ryan (or should I say DJ Cyan) to give us a beginner's guide to the scene.

Dubstep 101
By: DJ Cyan

By day I’m the head of publicity for Six Degrees Records, but by night I’m a bass-loving freak addicted to dubstep music. Dubstep is the London born bass music that combines dub/reggae influences with sub low bass. The bass slinks so low that you feel it more than you hear it. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York all have great dubstep scenes, but the music has grown worldwide.

Here are my top 5 dubstep tunes that shaped my sound.

1) Midnight Request Line Skream (Tempa)
This is the first tune that was recognized outside of the dubstep community. The catchy fluttering hook grabbed the attention of tastemaker Giles Peterson and became a favorite beat for the Roll Deep crew as well. Play this tune today and you still get an amazing reaction. Timeless.

2) Qawwali Pinch (Planet Mu)
Bristol’s DJ Pinch came out with this subdued bass roller that grows on you with every listen. Qawwali has become an anthem at New York City’s Dub War party. Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular on the Indian subcontinent. It was only fitting that we asked Pinch to remix a song from the Dub Qawwali album by Gaudi & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan that was released in 2007 on Six Degrees. Pinch purposely didn’t speed up the tempo to dubstep’s 140 bpm because he wanted to keep Nusrat’s vocals intact exactly how they were recorded. Respect.

3) Anti War Dub Mala (DMZ)
DMZ’s Mala is a rhythmic man. Anti War Dub swings more like a house tune than the popular half step rhythm. The vocals by Spen G scatting “we don’t want to fight tonight” reflects the yearning for peace right after the London tube terrorist bombings. Drop bass not bombs.

4) 50,000 WattsMatty G. (Argon)
Matty G. is a local Santa Cruz producer who mixes elements of laid back west coast G Funk into his music. 50,000 Watts is a perfect mix of bass, funk, and crunk. Look out for his debut album, Take You Back, on Argon Records this fall.

5) Round The World GirlsUncle Sam & Tes La Rok (Argon)
My #1 all time feel good dubstep track. Drop the needle on this tune and you get smiles across the dancefloor.

Here are some links for more info on some of these tracks:

Midnight Request Line click here

To listen to "Qawwali" click here

To listen and purchase "Dub Qawwali Remix" click here

For info on Anti War Dub click here

For 50,000 Watts click here

For Round The World Girls click here